Thursday, April 27, 2017

Same Stamps, Two Different Cards

Papertrey's Ruby Reprise is one of the stamp sets pulled from my cold storage. I love these flowers, and had so much fun playing with a super-clean design and a super-abundant design. Both make me happy--one for its white space and the other for its fun colors--and I hope they make you happy, too!






The inks are various quick-drying pigments (Impress Fresh, Memento Luxe, etc.), which give better, crisper images with these stamps. The lines don't get fuzzy, as with the Hero Arts dye inks. And the dense color of the pigment inks looks fabulous.

The past few weeks have been sort of crazy around here. So much going on: some of it awesome, some of it extremely stressful, but none of it life-threatening, so we have that going for us! Jennifer McGuire posted on Facebook yesterday explaining why she's not posted lately, and I thought, "I'm not alone! I'm just like Jennifer McGuire!"

I instantly felt better.

Life happens, doesn't it?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love for sure,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey
ink: various pigment inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, craft foam, glue

Monday, April 24, 2017

PSX Feathers Three Ways. Part 3

This final card using the old PSX feathers stamp gets all subtle with Avery Elle sea glass ink. While the first two cards used strong colors, this card goes soft and comforting to reinforce the sentiment from Psalm 91.


My first instinct was to put this panel on a white base, but it really was too subtle for that and looked very bland. The black mat and Papertrey aqua mist base frame the subtle panel with a bit more drama and draw attention to the sentiment and the very soft backdrop. It gives the sense of being enclosed, centered, protected by God. At least, that's what I was going for.

The bling needs no explanation.




This verse is a great comfort in times of grief and stress. I hope whoever receives this card feels that comfort and the love behind it.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: PSX, Waltzingmouse
paper: Papertrey white, black, aqua mist
ink: Avery Elle sea glass, Memento Luxe black
accessories: rhinestones

Sunday, April 23, 2017

PSX Feathers Three Ways, Part 2

Have you ever had a "creative" thought and tried it out? There are three possible outcomes: 1) it works beautifully, 2) it sort of works but isn't brilliant, and 3) it flops spectacularly.

Too often, my outcome is #3.

Well, while staring at the PSX feathers stamp, I wondered what would happen if I inked it with a couple of Tim Holtz Distress Inks and spritzed it with water. My gut told me it would create a muddy mess. The detail in the stamp is pretty fine and shouldn't lend itself to a watercolor effect.

But hey, it's only paper, and I wouldn't have to show the disaster to anyone except my trash can.

Only it wasn't a disaster. It was a #1! So here you go.


Isn't this delightful?!?! The colors are aged mahogany and brushed corduroy, which work so nicely together. I aimed for one-third corduroy and two-thirds mahogany, but got a bit more mahogany. That's a strong color. Anyway, the light spritzing gave a bit of a blurry feel, but the stamp looks great that way, so WIN!




The sentiment, from Waltzingmouse's Fine Feathers, tucked right into the feather design as if made to do so. That quotation from Emily Dickinson is delightful, as are so many of her poems.

Large quotations and large images can challenge a clean-and-simple stamper, but this simple design, bordered with a Prismacolor gold metallic marker, is exceptionally clean and simple. It doesn't even need bling. (GASP!)

And of course the PSX stamp absolutely rocks.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan


Supplies
stamps: PSX, Waltzingmouse
ink: Distress aged mahogany, brushed corduroy; Memento Luxe espresso truffle
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Prismacolor gold metallic pen, craft foam, glue

Saturday, April 22, 2017

PSX Feathers Three Ways, Part 1

While searching through my Really Old Stamp box, I stumbled onto this gorgeous feather stamp from PSX:


It seemed perfectly designed to make a card inspired by THIS PIN on Pinterest. So here's what I made.


The gate fold opens to a stamped sentiment and another feather.



The sentiment panel is only attached to the left side of the gate with dimensionals, while the right side has craft foam glued to it so it doesn't bend down in the envelope.



What makes this card smashing to me is the Kaleidacolor Vineyard ink. Those colors are stunning with this stamp! And of course, bling.

Because--let's say it together--bling makes everything better!

It was tricky getting the two sides of the gate perfectly aligned, and I did end up having to trim a sliver off one side, but it was absolutely worth the effort.

Now, since I had this pretty stamp out, it only made sense to play around with it. Two more cards resulted, both quite different from this one in layout and color schemes. We'll take a look at them over the next few days.

Also, Sue C. asked me to share my Copic colors with her, Here's my chart of alcohol markers, which includes Copics, Sharpies, and Bics.



The Copics are labeled with the Copic code, the Sharpies with Sh, and Bics with Bic. If you're having trouble reading the chart, click on the picture to see it bigger.

My collection has grown by bits and pieces, and there are still gaps that annoy me. But every time that first-world problem rears its ugly head, I remind myself of my coloring-challenged status. Does one who rarely colors truly need more shades of ridiculously expensive pens? The answer is no, of course, but there's no doubt my collection will grow.

No doubt whatsoever.

*sigh*

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: PSX feathers, Papertrey Keep It Simple Birthday
ink: Kaleidacolor Vineyard
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, dimensionals, glue

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Horror! The Horror!

My camera died today.

"The horror! The horror!"

Name that quote. Don't google.

When I try to use my light tent with my phone, the lines from the bulbs in my Ott lights show on the photo. My husband told me to use his Nikon D-50, but it intimidates me. I'm going to have to learn to do something new.

Some days, that's too much.

Can you relate?

Anyway, I have a few photos of cards that haven't been shared yet, so we're good for a few days. Technically, today's post could be two posts but that would be a waste of everyone's time because the cards are much the same, although one of them does use a rarely-seen-on-this-blog colored base.

Here you go.


Isn't that sentiment fabulous!!! You certainly won't find it in today's literary source, which is depressing beyond words.

My first coloring attempt with this stamp took the shading in the opposite direction, but it looked strange to me...perhaps simply because Copic coloring is so challenging for me. Whatever. So I googled actual pictures of roses and noted that many of them have lighter shades of color on the inside of petals and darker shades toward the edges. This seems counterintuitive to me, too, but I mentioned recently how horticulturally challenged I am, being more a plant hospice worker than green thumb.

I like the odd results.




Both cards use Memento black ink, which stays put no matter how much Copic layering you do, on Gina K heavy white cardstock, which is coated to make blending Copic and other alcohol inks easier. Thank you, Memento and Gina.




The orange rose has bits hanging over the edge of the popped panel...which adds a bit of interest to the card, I think.

Here's another line from our literary source for this post, one of my favorite lines in all literature for its sound (but certainly not for its meaning).

"A taint of imbecile rapacity blew through it all, like a whiff from some corpse."

Say it out loud. It's brilliant, even faintly onomatopoeic in a rather gross way.

Now, without googling, who can tell me who penned these lines and in what work they may be found?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love to fight the darkness,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Altenew Awesome You
ink: Memento Luxe
paper: Gina K white, Papertrey pink
accessories: Copic markers, craft knife, craft foam, glue, rhinestones

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Colorful Outlines

Altenew's Amazing You is such a pretty set...the outline images are perfect for coloring with your favorite medium or for stamping in color.

You don't have to guess which I prefer.


First up, we have roses in bright pinks, purples, and oranges, and accented with bling.

Yay, bling!

Next, we go with a serene palette of blues using what appears to my very non-horticultural eye as plumeria. Instead of bling, these flowers received a silver bead treatment.

Yay, beads!


Isn't it just grand that we have so many beautiful colors of ink to choose from?

Yes, it's grand, indeed.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and colorful gratitude,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Altenew Amazing You, Papertrey Keep It Simple Birthday
paper: Papertrey white
ink: various (mostly Archival)
accessories: Prismacolor silver metallic marker, ruler, craft foam, glue, silver beads, rhinestones

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Better Way to Color

The fabulously clever and creative Joan B of Dear Paperlicious demonstrated a better way to color on her blog post here, and so I gave it a try.

Simplicity and awesomeness, both at the same time!




Joan used simple circle stamps to color flowers from an Altenew set. My card is an example of pretty straightforward imitation. Different stamp set, but still Altenew, and similar layout. My circle stamps are from My Favorite Things Party Patterns set, which contains irregular circles that seemed perfect for this technique.




I made a similar version with bright colors, and it didn't look nearly so nice as the pastels. The bright circles looked too harsh and overwhelmed the black outlines. Unfortunately, I cut it up for scraps before taking a picture to show the difference, but if you experiment with this technique, keep that in mind.

This is by far a better way to color...at least for coloring-challenged me. My Copic experiments with this set have not, shall we say, yielded successful results. I'd much rather stamp the outlines in color or use Joan's dot method. Fortunately, the Altenew floral sets work great with LOTS of different techniques. Oh, how I love them!

If you don't have a circle set, remember that you can use the reverse of clear stamps to give solid images...so if the stamp itself is pretty round, just flip it over, mount it on an acrylic block, and use it as you would a circle stamp.

Thanks, Joan, for this wonderfully simple and beautiful idea!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Altenew Amazing You, My Favorite Things Party Patterns
ink: Archival black, Memento daffodil, pear tart, cantaloupe
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none


Monday, April 17, 2017

Dragonflies Are NOT the Same as Goldfish (or Sharks)

Today's two cards were inspired by this card posted by Memory Box by Jean Okimoto, who is a very clever designer!

The card first popped up on the Memory Box Facebook feed. Following companies on Facebook is an awesome way to stay connected with their releases and to get ideas from their awesome designers. I also invite you to follow Simplicity on Facebook as well because, why not? Your Facebook feed is already cluttered as it is, right?

Anywho, the original card is landscape-oriented and clusters the three die cuts in the center square, but I chose to rotate the card and spread out larger shapes a bit more.  My first effort wasn't quite a hit for me, mainly because it feels too heavy and there are too many rhinestones (a result of trying to balance the design...sometimes there can be too much bling), but perhaps you'll like it.


The colors are striking, even if the design feels too chunky. You'll notice the layout is almost identical to the original inspiration card, but the larger and very straight-line dragonflies don't work nearly as well as the sinuous goldfish die cuts (which look like sharks to me...am I alone in this?). Also, the background woodgrain (which works for water as well, don't you think?) doesn't have dots on it...making the round bling seem less integral to the design than the punched circles are on the original. Although I do think the woodgrain and the dragonflies work well together.

I went with black for the dragonflies because I saw a gorgeous all-black dragonfly in my garage last fall, but black simply feels too heavy, especially with the dark teal rhinestones.

Alas!

My second effort lightened the whole effect with more white, less (but still bright) color, and smaller bling. It made me very, very happy!



The tiny dot background unifies the bling better, and having the largish bling on the dragonfly bodies emphasizes the visual triangle of the focal point, unifying the punched shapes. Note that the smaller goldfish/sharks are, on the original card, all on the central square for unity but my dragonflies would have looked tangled had they been crammed onto one square together.

I added a sentiment because that bottom square felt too empty with just the little bling, and I was afraid of going a bling too far, as I'd done on the first card.

Anyway, this is an excellent layout and worth playing with more! Can't you just see a snowflake card, or a tiny sea horse card (I have a seahorse punch), or a star card with three circles as if you were looking through a telescope at the night sky? Oh, my! The possibilities are endless. If you try something with the layout, please share it in the comments!

Many thanks to Jean Okimoto for the wonderful inspiration.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts woodgrain, Tim Holtz polka dots, Papertrey sentiment
ink: various
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, square punch (3/4"), glue, dragonfly punch


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Hearting All over the Place

After a fabulous week with my mother, sister, niece, and nephews, I'm feeling all full of love and warm fuzzies. Plus, tomorrow is Easter, one of the happiest days of the year with some of my favorite hymns this side of Christmas. I heart life, people!

And I heart this card.



Using the tiny stamps in Hero Arts Busy As A set, I filled in the negative space of a large punched heart. Placement started with the two little bees, and then the larger flowers, and then the smaller flowers. Coloring took forever (or felt like it), and then bling filled in the empty spaces and balanced the colors.

What is better than bling to fill the empty spaces?




Aren't the pinks and oranges and yellows so cheerful? And all that bling!!! Not sure how bling can make me feel all warm and fuzzy, but it does.

Yes, it does.

May you have a blessed weekend, and for those celebrating Easter, may the joy of the Resurrection fill you with the certainty that God loves all of us immoderately and the knowledge that our job as Christ-followers is to share that immoderate love in a hurting world as Easter people.

Christ is risen!

He is risen, indeed!

Mercy, grace, peace, and Easter love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts Busy as a...
ink: Memento tuxedo black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Memento markers, rhinestones


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Family

Posting will be light this week because my mom, sister, niece, and nephews are visiting.

I love my family!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Inspired by Joan

Joan...she who sparked my recent spending spree and octopus obsession...sent me a fabulous card that touched my heart.

No pun intended.

Card by Joan



Several things about this card really stand out as smart design choices. First, the vertical wood-grain borders top and bottom both soften the bold graphic of the heart and echo the horizontal lines of the smaller heart in the large solid heart. That's brilliant! Then, there's the white enamel dot in the center of the smaller heart...it brightens the brown on red and draws the eye so pleasingly.

Basically, Joan is a genius, and so kind to have sent me a beautiful paper hug!

My card today, inspired by Joan's, uses Busy As A, a new bee-themed set from Hero Arts. I copied the borders top and bottom and used a tiny bling on my smaller focal point.



The small honeycomb stamp was repeated across the top and bottom of my one-layer card, and the honey pot was colored with Copics. This was my second attempt, and I really like how it turned out. The warm honey browns and teal blues add pop...that's what happens when you use complementary color schemes, or colors that are opposite on the color wheel.

The pot is popped up with dimensionals.

Image uses Memento rich cocoa ink for the outline
and Copic markers for the coloring. Lovely!


My little bling doesn't carry nearly as much design importance as Joan's enamel dot, but it's cute, isn't it!

Now, this was my second attempt at coloring. For the first attempt, I used Archival potting soil, and it didn't hold up to the Copic coloring. Look how the string disappears into the Copic ink, long before I'd finished layering the inks:

Image uses Archival potting soil for the outline, but
the Copics started dissolving the ink before enough color
could be put down.
So, there are two lessons from this post:

1. Joan is a genius and it would behoove you to click over to her blog Dear Paperlicious for some inspiration. (Plus, she's really funny!)

2. Use Memento ink when coloring with Copics.

Not bad for a Monday.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan


Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts Busy As A
ink: Memento Luxe potter's clay, Memento rich cocoa
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Copics, rhinestone, dimensionals

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Got There in the End

When I purchased You're a Fungi from Hero Arts, I didn't anticipate problems. It's a cute set--unusual for me--but the images are simple, easy to color, and not too large, which usually works for me.

Surprise!

I ruined a LOT of paper with this set. Not sure what happened, other than I'm nowhere near as good at coloring as I thought I was (but there's no real surprise there, I guess). The set itself is adorable, but after disappointing results with Copics, watercolor pencils, colored pencils, and simple markers, I was ready to give the set to Salvation Army and move on with my life.

Then, the Kaleidacolor ink pads whispered, "Try us!"

So I did.

Surprise!



This time, it was a happy surprise. Playing around with the spectrum pad yielded some rich, bright colors and turned an ordinary scene into something playful and cute.

Note the complete absence of coloring. *sigh*

Still not sure about this set. It's sitting on my desk, awaiting a second wave of effort, but if that proves as frustrating as the first, I'll give the set away.

Life's too short to argue with photopolymer.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan


Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts You're a Fungi, Thank You Messages
ink: Kaleidacolor spectrum
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: glue, dimensionals

Friday, April 7, 2017

Simon and Garfunkel Meet Cardmaking

Sometimes, multiple thoughts and images come together for inspiration, and such is the case with today's card.

First, Rita Perfater has a card on page 55 of Take Ten Spring 2017. Rita's colorful card has three watercolor strips of cardstock running vertically up and down her portrait-oriented card, with a horizontal strip over them for the sentiment. That layout stuck with me, and I wondered how I could use it.

Second, I picked up the Hero Arts set Fresh Herbs and realized I could pick three herbs and stamp the strips with them.

Third, the song Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme started playing in my head. Four herbs aren't ideal for card design, but by rotating the card to landscape, the layout works just fine.



The herbs were stamped in various shades of green pigment ink on 1/2" strips, which were then trimmed to roughly 2.5", staggered on the card base (as Rita staggered hers), and labeled with their names. I love how much movement this card has...it helps make the violation of the rule of odd numbers less problematic.

Remember that generally, odd numbers work better in design than even numbers. Three strips (as Rita used) or five strips would work better from a pure design point of view. BUT the song only has four herbs.

Regardless of the rules, this card totally works for me. I hope it works for you, too! And it's all thanks to Rita for getting it started and Simon and Garfunkel for finishing it.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts Fresh Herbs
ink: various pigment inks
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: glue pen, glue


Thursday, April 6, 2017

More Yarbs

My grandma was raised in Cleveland County, North Carolina, and she used colorful pronunciation for comic effect. She called her brassieres zizzers, banana pudding nanner puddin', and herbs yarbs.

"Put more yarbs in that stew pot!"

That popped into my head as I looked at today's cards, which are elegant and refined, unlike my grandma's comic pronunciations.

Interestingly, both make me very happy.






Pink and gold are all the rage right now, which means that for the second time in a week I am perfectly on trend.

This NEVER happens.

I'm going to celebrate by takin' off my zizzer, puttin' on my jammies, and fantasizin' about my grandma's nanner puddin'. It sure was yummy.

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and happy memories,
Susan

P.S. If you're interested, the gold border on the raised panels was created by dragging the edges of the panels over the Delicata golden glitz ink pad. If you choose to do this, let the ink dry completely before assembling the card. It takes a bit for the ink to dry completely, and you don't want to smear it. My grandma would have laughed and laughed at you, and fed you nanner puddin' to make you feel better. You'll just cuss and feel sad and have to make your own nanner puddin'.

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts Fresh Herbs
ink: Delicata golden glitz, Impress Fresh Ink pink lemonade
paper: StampinUp pretty in pink, Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Fresh Herbs Get a Technique

The Fresh Herbs set from Hero Arts was a complete no-brainer for me. I LOVE foliage stamps and word stamps...and sets that contain both are doubly appealing.

My first cards with the set add a splash of color with a very simple technique: inking up an acrylic block with markers, spritzing with water, and stamping on paper. Once the background was dry, I stamped the images and words with Archival black ink.

Each card uses different green markers (a combination of StampinUp and Memento).




The simplicity of these cards thrills me! The tension between the extremely irregular, unpredictable color splotches and the crisp black herbs and vast white space is delightful, and I love how the font brings the irregularity and crispness together...antique, loose, yet very readable.

Ahhh. Satisfaction.

I got it.


Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts Fresh Herbs
ink: Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: small square acrylic block, various StampinUp and Memento markers, water spritzer bottle 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Octopus Goes Green

Image result for color layering octopus


Let's digress a bit about design before looking at today's card. Stamp sets like Color Layering Octopus have certain design limitations worthy of note. First, the main image--the octopus--is fairly large and will dominate any card upon which it appears. The smaller images in the set allow a stamper to create a scene for the octopus (something I'm particularly challenged by) or can be used on cards by themselves as long as the focal point is small.

These components make a set incredibly versatile, especially for stampers whose style is not super minimalist.

On the other hand, it's a set with an octopus, branch coral, little fishes, and punny sentiments. These images are highly determined...meaning they have strong and specific meaning, and people will respond to them strongly as a result. For instance, I love octopuses and am fascinated by them, but other people look at them and see slimy sea creatures and might wonder why in the world a friend sent them a get-well card with such an image on it! And make no mistake. That octopus is going to dominate any card on which it appears.

Other images, such as generic flowers, trees, leaves, shapes, and patterns, are not highly determined. You can pair almost any sentiment with basic flower images and the card will work, from sympathy to birthday. I've seen woodgrain backgrounds used successfully on all sorts of cards, and graphic designs like polka dots and stripes can assume almost any meaning you want...well, maybe not sympathy, but you get the idea.

Buying highly determined sets like Color Layering Octopus adds a great deal of variety to your stash and can be LOTS of fun to play with, but this also explains why the majority of sets that I own are less determined.

When it comes to buying highly determined sets, however, I really appreciate the thoughtful design of sets like Color Layering Octopus, even when I don't use the tiny stamps to set a scene.


And by the way, the new Hero Arts color Antigua coordinates AWESOMELY with mint julep. Yay!

Octopus hugs and hellos. Too cute!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts, Simon Says Stamp, and MFT
ink: Hero Arts Antigua, mint julep, ombre pink; Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: envelope


Monday, April 3, 2017

Pink and Gold Go Under the Sea

An experiment with the fashionable color combination of pink and gold turned out surprisingly well with the Hero Arts Color Layering Octopus, if only because I LOVE adding a hug sentiment to an octopus card...because who doesn't want a eight-tentacled hug from a pink cephalopod?



The Archival pink peony is such a pretty shade of pink, but Archival ink has some sort of oil in it that makes it stamp so smoothly and evenly. With this in mind, I stamped the pink layer, let it dry for a bit, then pounced it with my Embossing Buddy. Even with that precaution and some extra hard thumping on the back of the embossed panel, however, gold flecks of embossing powder stuck randomly to the pink.


I suspect using a different formula of ink might work better. The extra thumping knocked too much powder off the areas where it belongs, so the embossing looks pebbly. Still, I do love the overall effect and will likely try it again with a Hero Arts pink ink, perhaps the new cotton candy.

But cotton candy isn't as pretty as pink peony. Which goes to show that we can't have every little first-world thing we want.

Bummer.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts Color Layering Octopus, Altenew Sentiments and Quotes
ink: Archival pink peony, embossing ink
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: extra-fine gold embossing powder, heat gun, Embossing Buddy, craft foam, glue


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Octopus Fascination

Octopuses are amazing creatures, and Hero Arts has a Color Layering Octopus set that is so much fun! I loved it at first sight because octopuses fascinate me, but then when Ms. Joan shared a few cards with it, I knew I had to have it. Of course, looking for other samples on the interwebs yielded a selection of not-CAS cards, so I felt like a rebel resisting the impulse to layer and embellish the octopus.

My first card takes a minimalist approach to looking out the porthole of a submarine and catching a glimpse of colorful, friendly cephalopod. Isn't it perfect how that one tentacle appears to be waving hello?



There's a piece of transparency glued under the top layer...hard to see in the photos but obvious in real life.


I find the two layers of the octopus fairly easy to align by sight...much easier than the Color Layering Seahorse set. It helps that there are eight tentacles that give you lots of unique curves to line up visually.

Octopuses are expert color changers, so it's easy to go wild with colors and think, "Hey, maybe Lulu lavender and amethyst octopi really do exist!"

Not that it matters. Creative license and all.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts Color Layering Octopus
inks: Memento Lulu lavender, Ancient Page amethyst, Memento Luxe black
paper: Papertrey white, transparency
accessories: craft foam, glue, Creative Memories circle cutter system


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Spread Kindness

While I stared at this pin, today's card popped into my mind. The sentiment is particularly relevant right now, and I hope if you're feeling scared or unsure how to respond in these absurd, insane, even scary times, you might consider adopting this as your mantra.

It's hard to go wrong with being kind.



Obviously, my focal point is the sentiment, which needed to be on a strip rather than the rectangle of the inspiration packaging for balance. The sentiment was simply too short and wide, and the background stamp only works vertically.

(See. I need a world background stamp that's horizontally oriented. Having only one that's vertically oriented just isn't enough. Stampers are never satisfied.)

But I love how the strip is "hugging" the world...so it works.

It certainly seems right now that the lines on maps and between races, religions, and political sides are growing higher, thicker, harder to cross. I used "seems" on purpose here. Appearances can be deceiving. In fact, I believe that the world is capable of great kindness, and it's happening all around us if we open our eyes and look for it.

We're inundated with news and social media that sell sensation and fear, but look around you. There's kindness all around...and you can be a part of it, help it grow.

Spread kindness. The world needs more of it.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Hero Arts background, Simon Says Stamp Inspired Messages
ink: Archival black, French Ultramarine
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Good Intentions and Better Advice

After re-integrating my Second-Chance Stamps into my craft space, I decided not to purchase new stamps for a while and simply reacquaint myself with the freshly-brought-out-of-storage stamps.

I felt quite smug and fiscally responsible about this decision.

Then, I talked with Joan B of Dear Paperlicious. She asked me what I'm working on, what my plans are for stamping, and I told her about the reacquaintance plan. It sounded so boring and uninspired when spoken out loud to the ever-cool Joan. She mentioned, nonchalantly, that she still had new stuff she hadn't used yet.

Within 24 hours of that conversation, I'd placed a big order for stamps and ink with Ellen Hutson...stopped by Marco's for a box of envelopes and picked up some crystal effects because I had none...then ran into JoAnn's just to "look around" and walked out carrying a bag with glue, a stamp set, and two Hero Arts ombre ink pads.

It's all Joan's fault. Or maybe mine. Oh, bother.


Hero Arts recently released new ink colors, including cotton candy, fresh lawn, and Antigua. The ombre inks, which someone advised me not to buy for some forgotten reason, leapt into my bag at JoAnn's and are now two of my favorite ink pads. Must get more of them.

And now you see the reason why buying new types of product is so dangerous. It makes you want more in every color.

The fresh lawn and Antigua are delightful, by the way, but the cotton candy isn't my favorite pink. It's okay, but I was hoping for something softer. Must keep buying looking.

Oh, bother.



Busy As A and You're a Fungi are cutesy sets that called to me for a variety of reasons...mostly because they are stinkin' cute and also because most of the images are small, which makes them very versatile for my CAS style. My stamp collection is shy on cutesy, but I do enjoy stretching outside my very simple box on a regular basis. At least that is how I justified buying stinkin' cute stamps.

Color Layering Octopus came to live with me because Joan has it, and I want to be like her.




While poking around on Ellen's website, I saw this Thank You Messages set and swear to you I heard a voice in my head (my own, thankfully) reciting something I read 15 years ago about how it
is better to have more sentiment stamps than image stamps. That advice (which I considered then and still consider now to be bogus) made perfect sense in the soft glow of my computer screen.

Please tell me I'm not the only crazy paper crafter out there.

The Fresh Herbs set was a no-brainer, I've already played with it, and it's my new favorite.



Altenew is putting out some amazing sets, and since Joan and I talked about how amazing they are, I had to add one of the amazing sets to my card. It even flattered me by saying, "You are amazing!" Just check out the sentiment on the bottom if you think I'm kidding.

Now, you might have noticed in the first picture above that there's a bottle of Ultra Clean. I ran out, couldn't find any locally, and purchased another brand. I won't make that mistake again.

The Hero Arts and Archival Inks I use and love tend to stain stamps, and if you clean those inky stamps with plain water or whatever stamp cleaner you find locally that isn't Ultra Clean, you will be unhappy. You will put a stamp on an acrylic block, ink it up with pink ink, and it will stamp purple because you didn't properly clean the cobalt ink off it the last time you used it.

Yes. Yes. This is a first-world problem, but it frustrates me every bit as much as dropping an inked stamp onto an almost finished card. Seriously. Deep breathing and animal noises happen to prevent the throwing of the things. I don't normally have anger management issue, but perhaps you understand.

Anyway, I'm back in business stamping with properly-cleaned stamps. Whenever they've been inked with Archival or Hero inks, the stamps get a few rubs on the cleaning pad spritzed with Ultra Clean, then a few rubs on the dry pad, and then a swipe on the damp washcloth that cleans all my other inks.


This might seem fussy to you, but avoiding outbursts of apex-predator-level rage is really worth any fussiness one might require.

By the way, if you choose to imitate my sophisticated travel-wipe-container-with-damp-washcloth method, don't ever seal the damp cloth in the wipe box. Left overnight, it will start to smell funky. Use thick washcloths folded so the lid can't close easily. When not using the cloth, flip the lid so it's only mostly closed, and the cloth will stay damp for a few days without stinking.

The stamp cleaning pad spritzed with Ultra Clean will never stink even if left closed because Ultra Clean is magical and smells like perfection.

And on that slightly insane note...

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

IC590: Glass Butterfly

As soon as I saw this photo on the IC590 inspiration board, I knew exactly what to make:


Stamping on a transparency...haven't done that technique in a long time. I even wondered if my Staz-On black ink had dried out. It hadn't, and it still smells delightful.

Sniffin' ink. That's just sad.

Anyway, the butterfly comes from Antique Engravings by Hero Arts. The transparency is taped directly to the raised white frame and then attached to the stamped card base with strips of craft foam and liquid glue. Thus, the butterfly is suspended 1/8" above the flowers, adding some lovely dimension in imitation of the inspiration photo.





The floral stem comes from Rubber Stampede and is pretty old...not to mention just plain pretty. It's colored with Memento markers and huffed, so that's a second technique used on one card.

Not a record, of course, but still. The use of two techniques on one LateBlossom card deserves a little applause.

I've had a little spending spree and will share tomorrow. Oh, my. If I won the lottery, I'd spend it all on stamps. And ink. And paper.

Of course, we can't have everything. Where would we put it?*

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Rubber Stampede, Papertrey, Hero Arts
ink: Staz-On black, Archival black
paper: Papertrey white, transparency
accessories: craft foam, Scor-Tape, glue 

*Thank you, Steven Wright.